Bird Life at Yepton
Blog post by Dr. David Gibbons, guest at Yetpon Estate Cottages and
Head of Conservation Science, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Cambridge, U.K.
I have made several visits to Yepton over the last few years, and one of its greatest attractions for me has been the variety of its bird life. The reason for this variety is the range of habitats encompassed within this relatively small bay.
Surrounding the coastal road, which runs more or less parallel to, but set back from the coast is an extensive area of goat-grazed scrub, typical of much of Antigua .
This blends into the well-manicured lawns of the coastal hotels and houses, with scattered trees and bushes, many of them flowering and attractive to the ever-energetic hummingbirds and their close relatives, the caribs.
This leads onto the palm-fringed beach, from which can be seen an array of common Caribbean seabirds; in fact most of these can be seen without even venturing down to the beach.
Most importantly, however, and what sets Yepton aside from other sites, is the small brackish lagoon just inland from the beach.
Though the number of species to be seen here will undoubtedly vary from season to season, particularly as migrating birds pass through in spring and fall, there is always something interesting to see.
Most obvious, perhaps, are the herons, ducks, waders, gulls and terns, and I have even seen a pair of rare West Indian whistling ducks here in May (2004), though I was unable to discover whether or not they were breeding.
I am told that a flock of 60 of these birds was spotted in June of 2005 at the salt pond where Yepton Estate Cottages are located.